Soft robots driven by pressurized fluids could explore new frontiers and interact with delicate objects in ways that traditional rigid robots can’t. But building entirely soft robots remains a challenge because many of the components required to power these devices are, themselves, rigid. 

Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed electrically-driven soft valves to control hydraulic soft actuators. These valves could be used in assistive and therapeutic devices, bio-inspired soft robots, soft grippers, surgical robots, and more.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  

“Today’s rigid regulation systems considerably limit the adaptability and mobility of fluid-driven soft robots,” said Robert J. Wood, the Harry Lewis and Marlyn McGrath Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS and senior…

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